De­tails

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

Sun­Trust Park will be a lit­tle more col­or­ful on June 23.

That night, the At­lanta Braves will host its an­nual LGBT Night — com­plete with rain­bow sou­venirs.

Ben Ni­coara, an At­lanta res­i­dent, at­tended the 2016 LGBT Night as part of the At­lanta Gay Men’s Cho­rus, which was in­vited to sing at the event. He’s al­ready got his tick­ets pur­chased for this year’s game, a first at the new sta­dium.

“I was a lit­tle sur­prised that that was even go­ing on,” he said. “Last year they had a pregame event and there was food and drink and stuff, and the cho­rus per­formed there and a few peo­ple spoke. It was a very wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment and space, which isn’t typ­i­cal in sports.”

This year’s LGBT Night takes place against the Milwaukee Brew­ers. A por­tion of ev­ery ticket sold will ben­e­fit the home­less youth or­ga­ni­za­tion Lost-n-Found Youth, and folks can pur­chase a ticket pack­age that in­cludes a lim­ited-edi­tion rain­bow-logo ball cap. There will also be a pre-game party with a cash bar at the Xfin­ity Rooftop, and Bravos fans are in­vited to chop af­ter dark along­side the postgame fire­works.

Ni­coara told Ge­or­gia Voice he thinks it’s im­por­tant for LGBT fans and al­lies to come to Pride nights as a show­ing of sup­port, and to stay vis­i­ble.

“That’s the first step in get­ting peo­ple to un­der­stand and not be afraid about things they might not know,” he said. “While we’ve made some big ad­vance­ments and fight for our rights, I think there’s still a lot to do, es­pe­cially now af­ter our change in our na­tional gov­ern­ment and some of the at­ti­tudes around that have not been great for us.”

He said dur­ing the game last year, when it was an­nounced over the loud­speaker it was Pride night, the sta­dium filled with cheers.

“I didn’t hear any­body boo about it,” Nico- At­lanta Braves LGBT Night Fri­day, June 23 at 7:35 p.m. Sun­Trust Park, 755 Bat­tery Ave. SE At­lanta, GA 30339 LGBT Night ticket pack­age: $32 Avail­able at: www.m.mlb.com/braves/tick­ets/info/lgbt-night ara said. “That just goes to show there’s more ac­cept­ing sports fans than those that aren’t.”

The Braves aren’t the only At­lanta team that host an event to show sup­port for LGBT fans — last year, the Hawks hosted a Unity Night, and the At­lanta Dream will also play a Pride Night game on June 23. Ni­coara said he hopes At­lanta United, the city’s new soc­cer team, will join in, too.

Braves play­ers re­cently made the news af­ter com­ing on the field fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent with a Toronto Blue Jays player who used a ho­mo­pho­bic slur on At­lanta’s pitcher. Ni­coara said he ap­pre­ci­ated the team com­ing out against that rhetoric.

“It was re­ally great to see our teams’ or­ga­ni­za­tions re­ally be aware of what’s go­ing on and to make a state­ment about it, and change the mind­set of peo­ple that un­der­stand what is and what’s not ac­cept­able at sports matches,” he said.

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